Married in 2006 as the second wife to her husband, Amondirwoth Patricia narrates how they (her and her husband) coped with a childless marriage for ten years.
“We decided to start business of selling second hand clothes and even went ahead to set up gardens as well as building a house in my husband’s village,” she says.
Despite having five co wives, Amondirwoth who hails from Nebbi District, Abindu Ward Nyacara Village found peace in her marriage. Fortunately her co wives eventually left.
Early December 2016, she recalls that her husband was in a jovial mood when he broke the news on how he was planning to wed his first wife (Patricia’s co-wife). Like any other human being, Patricia was deeply hurt but sadly it was beyond her control let alone leaving them proceed with their plans.
However she cautioned her husband to set up a small business for her from which she would be able to survive and he willingly agreed.
“Surprisingly one day, he came to my home and chased me out of the house and grabbed all the properties. I tried reporting the matter to his brother but they were all in his support,” she explains amidst tears.
Left with nobody to lean on, an idea struck Patricia’s mind and she thought of going to a probation office in search for justice.
Luckily enough on her way to the probation office, she met two ladies; Oyenya Night, a religious leader and Topista Munguriek, an opinion leader (former field officer ACFODE) who had been recently trained on women land and property rights by ACFODE with financial support from OXFAM.
When she narrated to them what was happening, they stopped her from going to probation offices and assured her that they could handle the case since they had just been trained on handling Land and property cases and familiarized with such cases.
“I had no option but to give them my husband’s number, when they called to meet him, he accepted but on telling him to hand back the land and properties, he refused and made fun of the ladies.” She narrated.
As fate would have it Topista, one of the ladies who went to meet Patricia’s husband was an ally to the parish priest who was to wed her husband and the co-wife. With no hesitation, she went to the priest and narrated the scenario and also requested the priest not to wed the couple until the land and property issues had been solved amicably. The parish priest then summoned her husband to resolve the matter in the presence of the two women (Topista and Oyenya Night).
The two ladies (Topista and Oyenya) together with some elders plus relatives to the husband were around when the land and properties were being handled over to Patricia. She was so happy and the ladies advised her to sell off the land and buy another plot away from town which she did. She then bought a bigger plot in Akworo sub county of Nebbi though the documents were still being processed.
Patricia speaks with much joy having gained victory and got back that which she deserved. As she familiarizes with the new environment, she intends to put up a business dealing in second hand clothes.
Training of the social actors on women land rights, and clear understanding of the informal referral path ways have supported the changes in Patricia’s life. However, ignorance of women’s land and property rights still exist among people.
Great thanks to ACFODE and OXFAM for the knowledge and skills imparted on women, land and property rights.
Human Rights and Governance Department